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Over €4.3 billion is owed to the State in tax and €969 million is 'available immediately'

Joan Burton has called for the monies to be collected immediately.

Image: Shutterstock/Kristijan Zontar

LABOUR’S JOAN BURTON has said that the Government should act now and recoup nearly a billion euro owed to the public coffers which the TD says can be collected immediately. 

Burton, acting as her party’s finance spokesperson, called for a detailed explanation from the Government regarding €4.3 billion in tax payments which are outstanding to Revenue as of 31 January 2019. A total of €969m is immediately available for collection and would make a significant difference to public services, she said. 

Burton said that this information was released to her after she put down a parliamentary question. 

She said: “Wealth taxes of €111m are outstanding that would cover the shortfall in the capital budget in 2019 for the National Children’s Hospital.

“The discovery of these figures raises serious questions. At present, just over €3.2 billion of tax debt is under appeal with the Tax Appeals Commission. The level of outstanding revenue is concerning as the sums involved are incredibly large, so for those involved in the appeal the stakes are high. 

“A further €114 million relates to insolvency debt and this is likely to never to be recovered. No breakdown was available on this either as to what tax heads these figures relate to and I will be asking further questions to understand what is involved. I would like to know if this relates to uncollected VAT, income tax or social security payments.”

Revenue supplied Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe with the figures. In the response to the parliamentary question, Donohoe said: “I am advised by Revenue that the total amount of tax debt at 31 January 2019 is €4,318m. However, this figure includes €3,235m of debt that is under appeal with the Tax Appeals Commission and €114m of Insolvency Debt, which is not available to Revenue to collect. 

“The remaining €969m is regarded as a more accurate indicator of actual debt that is available to Revenue for collection. The breakdown of this amount includes €410m that is outstanding for less than 6 months, €87m that is outstanding for between six months and 12 months and €472m that is outstanding for longer than 12 months.”

Burton said that the minister needs to explain why such a large sum of debt can be outstanding across so many tax heads.

“Clearly there needs to be a significant overhaul of Revenue in order to ensure all taxes are paid as soon as possible. This is of particular importance considering the imminence of Brexit, after which the State will need to ensure it has as many resources available to it as possible.”

She added: “For example, do the Revenue Commissioners require additional resources whether in legal or professional advice or technical advice?”

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